Join over 5,000 people who receive the Anecdotally newsletter—and receive our free ebook Character Trumps Credentials.
- Business storytelling
- Corporate Storytelling
- Employee Engagement
- Leadership Posts
- March 2023
- February 2023
- January 2023
- December 2022
- November 2022
- October 2022
- September 2022
- August 2022
- July 2022
- June 2022
Replay 112 – FedEx helicopter story absolutely positively flies
Filed in Anecdotes, Business storytelling, Corporate Storytelling, Podcast
Podcast: Play in new window | Download
Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher | RSS
If you give your employees guiding principles rather than rules, they will do amazing things. Listen to hear Doug Keeley’s favourite business story of all time.
This week on Anecdotally Speaking, we’re replaying 112 – FedEx helicopter story absolutely positively flies, which features a special guest, Doug Keeley!
Doug is an Anecdote Partner and the CEO and Chief Storyteller at Stories Rule! He shares how he got into storytelling, met the Anecdote team, and his all-time favourite business story.
Mark mentions Dave Carroll’s 2009 YouTube sensation, United Breaks Guitars, which Shawn wrote about in this blog post.
If you want to connect with Doug, you can find his LinkedIn profile here.
We’ll be back next week with our 150th episode of Anecdotally Speaking! Bye for now!
For your storybank
Tags: customer service, customers, principles before rules, storytelling, values, values in action
This story starts at 08:43
In the mid-1980s, Doug was working in a communications agency in Toronto. Standing in his office one morning, he read an intriguing newspaper headline.
A young package delivery company, Federal Express, had recently promised their customers that they would deliver their packages ‘absolutely, positively’ on time. The headline read, “Federal Express driver rents helicopter to deliver a package.” The article explained that, during a recent snowstorm, a Federal Express driver had been trying to deliver a package. Roads had closed, and the driver knew he wouldn’t make it in time in his delivery truck.
Federal Express had promised its customers that it would deliver their packages ‘absolutely, positively’ on time. Without calling his head office, he made a decision. He hired a helicopter, flew it to the destination, and personally delivered the package on time.
There was a comment in the newspaper which read, “These people will be out of business by Christmas.” Fred Smith, CEO at Federal Express, later rebuked the comment. He reiterated the company’s promise to deliver packages ‘absolutely, positively’ on time. And he observed that the company’s delivery drivers were smart enough not to hire helicopters every time there’s a snowstorm.
Federal Express made the driver who had hired the helicopter a hero. His actions kickstarted storytelling in one of the world’s best storytelling companies and occurred at the start of Federal Express’ transition to FedEx.
After hearing the story, Doug, his company, and his clients all decided they wanted FedEx to deliver their packages and gave the company their business.
About Anecdote International
Anecdote International is a global training and consulting company, specialising in utilising storytelling to bring humanity back to the workforce. Anecdote is now unique in having a global network of over 60 partners in 28 countries, with their learning programs translated into 11 languages, and customers who incorporate these programs into their leadership and sales enablement activities.